Root River State Trail, Houston

#34 of 61 in Trails in Minnesota
Biking Trail · Hidden Gem · Hiking Trail
Root River State Trail is a 60mi paved multi-use rail trail system in southeast Minnesota. The trail system consists of two main segments, the Root River segment, and Harmony-Preston Valley segment. The trails are used mainly for bicycling, hiking, and inline skating in the summer, and for cross country skiing in the winter. Much of the trail, especially the Root River segment, is built along a former Milwaukee Road (Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad) railbed following the contours of the Root River valley.
The degrading quality of the trail's pavement has generated concern from both trail users and local business owners. The trail was originally paved in the 1980s, and asphalt trails are typically expected to last 15 to 20 years. As of 2008, some sections of the trail still feature the original 23-year-old asphalt. In August 2007, some parts of the trail were washed out by torrential rain. The damaged areas were temporarily repaired with gravel fill, and were repaved by June 2008.
42.3mi in length, the trail runs predominantly east/west, following the meanders of the Root River for much of the distance. Because most of this trail segment was constructed on an abandoned rail grade, most of the inclines and curves are quite gradual.
The trail intersects six towns along the way: 0mi - Fountain, Minnesota (western terminus of trail segment)6.5mi - junction with Harmony-Preston Valley segment11.2mi - Lanesboro, Minnesota15.8mi - Whalan, Minnesota24.7mi - Peterson, Minnesota29.5mi - Rushford, Minnesota42.3mi - Houston, Minnesota (eastern terminus of trail segment)
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Root River State Trail reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
16 reviews
  • My wife and I got a chance to spend 4 days riding on the Root River State Trail at the very end of September 2020. We stayed in Lanesboro (see my google review for the wonderful Scandinavian Inn) and....  more »
  • The trail is asphalt throughout. Very well maintained! We camped outside of Lanesboro (Forestville Mystery Cave State Park). The towns along the trail cater to bicyclists. We biked early (41 miles....  more »

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